Fifteen-year-old Keti Tedeevi, a high-schooler in the Georgian village of Nikozi, hasn’t let living on the edge of the South Ossetian conflict get in the way of her dreams. She wants to become an animator and, thanks to a local school that sees art as a way to encourage peace, she’s getting that chance.
Located just a few hundred meters from breakaway South Ossetia, the Saint Aleksandre Okropiridze Art School was founded after the 2008 Russia-Georgia war by Metropolitan Isaiah of Nikozi and Tskhinvali, a former full-time animator. Today, 150 area students – many of them, like Tedeevi (a native of Achabeti), Internally Displaced People from South Ossetia -- attend the free-of-charge facility to study animation, music, English, Russian and more.
With support from foreign donors, the school’s international animation festival enlivens Nikozi, a village of 1,845 people, each year. Among the works shown are animations created by local students.
Tedeevi, who participates in the festival, says the school makes her want to stay in Nikozi -- so that she can learn something new and create something memorable.